In our first MYTHBUSTERS: The Home Builder Edition, PWSC tackles common home building industry misconceptions…
There is a long list of reasons we enjoy working with home builders at PWSC, and at the top of that list is this: Home builders are committed to providing outstanding customer service. Home builders consistently recognize the need to meet, if not exceed, the expectations of their homeowners. After all, a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in terms of cost, time, and overall impact on their lives. Home builders know this, and they know that happy homeowners make for happy reviews, positive recommendations, and a good reputation.
So far, there is no myth to bust here. It’s a fact that home builders know their stuff when it comes to customer service, especially when the homeowner has reasonable expectations. But, what happens when the homeowner’s expectations grow out of control? Satisfying those expectations can get expensive and exceeding them… almost impossible. Could it be that all of the goodwill accumulated from the home builder’s multiple “yeses” might be easily negated with a first “no”?
This is a common problem we hear from home builders: “We don’t run into too many major warranty issues because we try to go above and beyond, but occasionally things escalate when we have to say no. Furthermore, all of those extra yeses are getting expensive.”
So, how can a home builder get more appreciation for those extra repairs and still say no without harming its reputation? It is likely that that all of the right things are happening on the customer service front, but some extra education to the homeowner along with a clear and detailed set of standards can make a big difference.
When home builders define clear standards, they have solid evidence to refer back to when addressing homeowner concerns. It helps the homeowner understand the reason behind the answer and feel more confident that there is not something wrong with their home. It also lets homeowners know that their builder is handling issues consistently.
For example, a homeowner might spot a crack in a home’s foundation and express concern that it’s a major structural issue. Someone from the home builder’s team could easily look at the crack and determine it to be within safe and normal tolerances. It is how this information is relayed that makes all the difference:
- Response 1: “It’s fine. This is a normal occurrence, and no action is needed.”
This response can feel like an opinion to a homeowner and cause them to wonder if the issue is being taken seriously enough. The homeowner may even feel the need to escalate the issue or get a second opinion.
- Response 2: “As new homes settle, some fine cracks are expected in the foundation. We hold our homes to top industry standards which define normal cracking to be less than one quarter of an inch in width. This one is just under an eighth of an inch, and it is completely safe and normal. We certainly want to hear from you if anything changes, but there is no reason to think this is anything other than the usual evidence of a new home settling.”
This response gives homeowners a solid reason for the no. It’s information they can see for themselves in the builder’s standards and, most importantly, it gives them confidence in the safety of their home and their investment.
Saying yes to every repair isn’t what leads to more satisfied customers, adding that extra, consistent specificity to a response is what leads to positive results. Whether it is a yes or a no, when builders’ standards are clearly communicated there is a proven and positive impact on two key metrics: customer satisfaction and warranty expenses. To learn more, check out our recent whitepaper on this topic, or contact PWSC.